3M supports fluorochemical regulation that is based on the best available science and established regulatory processes. The definition of fluorochemicals is very broad; it includes a large and diverse range of fluorinated substances with vastly different physical, chemical, biological and toxicological properties. These regulations need to be crafted carefully to meet regulatory objectives and help maintain the availability of important products that are made with fluorochemistries.
Fluorochemical management, based on the best available science, can help protect people and the environment without negatively affecting global supply chains, national security, and other unintended consequences.
1. Foundation in rigorous science
Science is core to public policy and regulatory engagement on fluorochemistries. Important scientific principles that need to be accounted for in regulation include:
Using the best available science
- Use the body of reliable, quality scientific evidence when making decisions.
- Ensure technologies are available for companies to demonstrate compliance with data and sound testing and analytical methods.
Incorporating risk assessment
- Consider the application and potential exposure routes to people or the environment.
- Evaluate the unique properties of chemistries being used, such as mobility or ability to accumulate in people, and their application.
Considering informed groupings
- Understand that there are thousands of fluorochemistries with distinct and differing properties and uses and treating them as a single group is not appropriate or scientifically sound.
- Engage with relevant stakeholders to determine if grouping some of these materials in regulation can be done in a scientifically sound way.
2. Results-oriented Approaches for Communities
Scientific knowledge of fluorochemistries continues to evolve. 3M is committed to working collaboratively with communities to find a path forward.
- Use data to make decisions, such as the assessed risk of the PFAS in the environment, potential exposure pathways, and the costs and benefits.
- Provide time to gather and analyze the data and gather relevant stakeholder input, and for solutions to be implemented and make an impact.
3. Collaborative development using established processes
PFAS are used by a wide variety of critical global industries to make products people rely on every day. Factors to consider include:
Engaging with relevant stakeholders
- Policymaking should include a broad range of perspectives – including industry, academics, nongovernmental organizations, and others – to develop the best outcomes possible.
- Regulators should consider comments and other input that are intended to make policies more effective and show clear benefits if new and potentially costly regulation is proposed.
U.S.-based Regulatory Policy and CERCLA
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced plans to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
CERCLA, also known as “Superfund,” authorizes EPA to respond to past or present releases of materials into the environment, and to recover its costs from defined responsible parties. It also authorizes EPA to require that these parties take remedial action themselves, subject to certain defenses.
This proposed action will not meaningfully advance remediation of these legacy materials.
- There are better, faster, and more constructive ways to reduce exposure to PFOA and PFOS when and where appropriate, such as infrastructure upgrades, establishment of cleanup standards, use of existing EPA authority, and others. Many such measures are already underway.
- EPA’s proposed designation of PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances is unnecessary, inappropriate, and not based on the best available science. This action will not help promote timely or appropriate remediation of these materials and could in fact delay action.
- Environmental agency leaders, industry groups, and others have voiced concerns about the impracticality and potential unintended consequences of such a designation and sought to find alternatives that would achieve the Administration’s goals.